Tag: ryota igarashi

2011 Analysis: Ryota Igarashi

Recently, the Mets declined their option to bring Ryota Igarashi back for the 2012 season, thus ending yet another Japanese import gone bad.

Of course, the Mets’ experience with transplanted Asian ballplayers hasn’t been all bad; Tsuyoshi Shinjo was a usable asset and fan favorite. But the failures have been glaring, punctuated by the experiments with Kaz Matsui and now Igarashi.

“Rocket Boy” left Japan in a tone that had commonality with Matsui’s exit. Not with nearly the same excitement, of course, but there was an edge of brazenness and zeal from the Japanese press and Igarashi himself that made many of us shudder with the thought, “dude, sshhh …. do something on the field in New York before you go shooting your mouth off about singing God Bless America“.

We’re used to the over-hype applied to Japanese players who cross the Pacific, so the expectations of many Mets fans were lowered by cynicism upon Igarashi’s arrival. Still, the Mets committed enough money and years to make many people believe that Iggy would be a significant member of the bullpen.

Purportedly, Igarashi’s velocity hung in the upper 90s, teasing triple digits, and his well-framed repertoire included a 12-6 curve, biting slider, and drop-dead forkball – or at least, that’s what the scouting report said. In reality, Iggy’s fastball did reach the mid-90s, but without much movement and usually in the upper half of the strike zone, and the rest of his pitches were unreliable. The Mets might have taken away Iggy’s best pitch – the curveball – upon his arrival, and the forkball that was so deadly in Japan scared no one in the USA. Interestingly, before he even threw a pitch in this country, we here at MetsToday wondered whether the size of the baseball might prove to be a difficult adjustment for Igarashi. Granted, there were likely other factors contributing to his underwhelming performance, but it’s a detail that can’t be completely discounted whenever a pitcher makes the trip across the Pacific.

For what it’s worth, this was my initial assessment when Igarashi was signed:

… he might turn out to be somewhere between Fernando Rodney and Jorge Julio. I’m going to keep my expectations low, with the hopes of being pleasantly surprised. If he’s as good as the reports say, this is a good signing for the Mets, who need all the relief help they can find.

In the end, that thought was closer to Julio than Rodney, as Igarashi proved to be a frustrating enigma. He often flashed the explosive fastball but rarely was able to place it effectively, and the only other pitch that supported his heat was a darting slider that worked in spurts, but not consistently. Iggy’s brief periods of effectiveness, followed by bouts of wildness and obvious lack of confidence were maddening, and made it difficult for Mets fans to rally behind him. In different circumstances – perhaps in a smaller market – Igarashi might have been able to find something resembling his former glory. But in New York, it didn’t, and wasn’t going to, happen.

2012 Projection

As mentioned in the opening, the Mets did not exercise their option on Igarashi, and it’s presumed that he will not return to Flushing. Though he may return to Japan, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him hook on with another MLB club next year and provide some kind of value. He seemed to really struggle with his confidence, and you have to wonder how much of that was due to the pressures of playing in New York, the size of his salary, and the fanfare of his entrance to the USA. Maybe a change of scenery and dose of humility will be the antidote to Igarashi’s struggles.

2010 Evaluation of Ryota Igarashi


Mets Game 161: Loss to Reds

Reds 5 Mets 4

Strange … nowhere in the Mets media guide, nor in the scorebook, nor on the Mets.com website does it say “September 27: Jose Reyes Day”. Yet clearly, this was his day.

Yet it wasn’t, because the Mets lost. Which was remarkable, considering that Reds manager Dusty Baker didn’t care much about the game, his players didn’t care much about putting forth any effort, and Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero looked like he’d rather be sunbathing on a Caribbean beach with an umbrella drink by his side. A completely unsatisfying outcome for a baseball fan.


Mets Cut Down Roster

In addition to the release of Luis Castillo yesterday, the Mets also assigned Dillon Gee, Boof Bonser, Ryota Igarashi, Taylor Tankersley, Raul Chavez, Dusty Ryan, Russ Adams, and Jason Pridie to minor-league camp.

No surprise about


2010 Analysis: Hisanori Takahashi

Takahashi was the less-heralded Japanese pitcher signed by the Mets last winter, and some less-in-touch fans might have confused him with Ken Takahashi. But by the end of 2010, there was no confusion as to who was Hisanori Takahashi, and he far outperformed the supposedly better-skilled Ryota Igarashi.

“Tak” did everything that was asked of him and more – starting, mop-up relieving, executing matchup situations, setting up, closing. He was effective in all of those situations – a pitching jack-of-all-trades. If he had a flaw it was as a starting pitcher, where his performance usually fell off quickly after batters saw him a second and third time. Was it because he was not conditioned to throw beyond 40-50 pitches? Or was his first-round success due to mystery? No one knows for sure.

Perhaps the most surprising skill was